The fantasy hockey season might be winding down, but the mailbag is as important as ever, whether to tackle questions about how to approach the last month of the 2019-20 regular season or ones looking ahead to the Stanley Cup playoffs, the summer or even the 2020-21 campaign and beyond. As usual, this column aims to provide thorough answers to your inquiries while also dispensing advice that should be useful to poolies even if they don't own the specific players being discussed.
If you want your fantasy hockey question answered in the next mailbag be sure to check out the end of the column, where I explain the ways to get it to me. The earlier you send a question the more likely it is to be included, and the deeper dive I can provide with my reply.
Question #1 (from Stewart)
Which goalie will have sooner/better value in a keeper league: Ilya Samsonov or Igor Shesterkin?
If it's sooner you're focused on, I'd go with Samsonov, as in all likelihood he'll be the #1 goalie in Washington for 2020-21, with Braden Holtby, set to depart as a UFA. Yes, there's still a chance that Holtby re-signs; but I'd guess that between Holtby's desire to get paid and Washington's not to have a 1A/1B situation, we will see Holtby elsewhere next season and Samsonov as "the guy" for the Caps.
In contrast, Shesterkin is set to be one of three netminders under contract for the Rangers for 2020-21. Even if Henrik Lundqvist retires or gets bought out, that still leaves Alexander Georgiev. And although Georgiev has long been rumored as a likely expansion target for the Seattle team, that's not happening until the 2021 offseason. As such, of the two Samsonov should pay more immediate dividends.
What about longer-term? Shesrterkin's stats have been so superb at all